Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sutton Junction's Valley Store

The "valley store", Sutton Junction's supermarket

By M. Helmuth Starhemberg
Prime Minister Harper sent them gratulations at their 50th wedding anniversary and one would think that Arnold and Gloria Wighton should be safely retired at age 80. But no, for 32 years they have operated what locals in the Sutton area call "Sutton Junctions Wal-Mart. It is a depanneur, it sells general used merchandise, bric a brac and even has a small cantine on the premises, which is the source of tea and coffee for local road maintenance crews, neighbors and friends.

Arnold Weighton
Arnold is a retired gravel truck driver and many years in the past, Gloria had worked at Sutton's long defunct Paramount bakery where she was in charge of shipping."We moved to Sutton Junction in 1958, into the old C.P.R house, which has 16 rooms. The house belonged to my parents" explains Gloria which is the historian of the family. "There was a large general store next door but it burnt to the ground in 1980 and we bought the land and built our store. Everything was done by Arnold, myself and our family and friends". Ever since then they have been open from 8am to 5:30pm.
"We used to really work the cantine but now it is just down to coffee, tea and toast for the locals" muses Gloria, but explains:"Even though, I just had to take the mandatory course for restaurant owners pertaining to the hygienic operation of a food service establisment and now I finally know that no shelf can be closer to the ground than 12 inches", she chuckles. Needless to say, she passed and can continue to serve toast in her fully licensed "restaurant".

When the Wightons moved into town, Sutton Junction was still a vibrant community with a large railroad station, railroad repair facilities, two garages, a big post office and a large general store. The center of the community was the beautiful St. Aidan's Anglican church which is just up the street from the Valley Store and stiull funcions as a meeting hall and spiritual center for a healthy congregation.
Now Sutton Junction has an artesinal forge, an organic chocolate maker, a vineyard and many prosperous surrounding farms. "It has become to easy to drive the five minutes to Sutton", explained one customer. But if anyone needs a cold beer or a carton of milk, some canned goods available in plenty, or a used book, sweater, clock radio, telephone,a picture for the wall or a lamp for the night table, it is still available at Arnold and Gloria's emporium. Don't forget to pet one of the lovely four cats that tend the store alongside their masters.


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